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Artemis 1 virtual reality experience aims to bring epic NASA moon launch to you

artemis 1 rocket lifting off from launch pad in illustration
An artist's depiction of what the Artemis 1 launch will look like. (Image credit: NASA)

It's time for virtual reality space fans to start their engines.

A new Oculus Quest and VR experience called "Artemis Ascending" will provide an immersive view of the launch pad when NASA's historic Artemis 1 mission lifts off for the moon, no earlier than Aug. 29.

There are lots of ways you can participate in the Artemis Ascending livestream: at Horizon Worlds (opens in new tab), in Facebook 360 on the Space Explorers page (opens in new tab), and through partners that the company Felix & Paul Studios will release later on its website. Felix & Paul has pledged to make the experience accessible via telecommunications providers, as well as a set of domes and planetariums around the world.

Related: NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission: Live updates
More: NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission explained in photos 

The goal is to feel the roar of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket on its debut mission as it lifts the Orion spacecraft on a journey to the moon. Felix & Paul Studios will put cameras around the launch pad area in zones that are too close for humans to enjoy, meaning you'll get to be even closer than any spectators at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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A Felix & Paul senior executive drew parallels with the way the public experienced the Apollo missions, which placed a dozen humans on the moon between 1969 and 1972. Broadcasting innovations of the era include live coverage from the surface of the moon, along with sending footage from small spacecraft in which the astronauts were traveling.

"The Apollo missions were televised worldwide in black and white, but the Artemis generation will experience the upcoming moon missions, and future Mars missions, in an immersive and experiential way," Felix Lajeunesse, co-founder and creative director of Felix & Paul, said in a statement. 

Felix & Paul is an immersive studio based in Montreal, Canada whose originals include the "Space Explorers" series, productions with franchises like "Jurassic World" and comedy specials for "Just for Laughs" starring celebrities like Trevor Noah and Lilly Singh.

If you're looking to get your feet wet with virtual reality, consult our best VR headset guide for immersive gaming, virtual cinema experiences or interactive workouts. Our review of the Oculus Quest 2 gave it a near-perfect 4.5 stars, making it our favorite headset right now.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.